Top 10 Premier League Players We’ve Been Impressed By Early Doors

Chris Wright

18th, September 2012


By Chris Wright

Who’s caught Pies’ discerning eye in the early rounds? Read on (in no particular order)…

1. Santi Cazorla, Arsenal – We (like most others) knew the little bugger was going to be great anyway, mainly as he’s a cracking little player, but Cazorla has settled straight in at the Emirates – going about his business, making things happen from his role as the hub and crux of Arsenal’s attacking intentions.

2. Jermain Defoe, Tottenham – Defoe’s titchy 5’5” frame isn’t exactly the first image that springs to mind when you picture a ‘lone frontman’ in your mind’s eye, but the wee chap’s been defying conventions all over the shop of late (scoring 8 goals in the last 9 Premier League games in which he’s played the full 90 minutes) despite Spurs’ lolloping start to the season.

3. Jussi Jaaskelainen, West Ham – Gawd bless ‘im. Just when it looked like he was being readied for a one-way trip to the footballing glue factory, Jussi finds new life in East London.The man just keeps on keeping on. Jaaskelainen’s creaking Finnish knees have been in fine form betwixt the West Ham sticks during the early exchanges, with the 37-year old stalwart putting in a hell of a performance against Norwich at the weekend – the club he came within a mosquito’s danglies’ width of signing for when he first came to England 15 years ago.

4. Abou Diaby, Arsenal – Sweet Jesus, if only he could stay fit for more than a week at a time Diaby would have almost definitely left Arsenal for Barcelona or Real Madrid a long time ago (that’s how these things work, right?). The gangly Frenchman has managed three games so far this season and looked – and we do not say this lightly – positively Vieira-esque in the Gunners’ 2-0 win at Liverpool, maneuvering the ball with beautifully fluid ease, only to go and suffer yet another niggling knee knack while away on international duty the week after.

5. Shaun Maloney, Wigan – Coming into the season on the back of an impressive tail end to 2011/12, Maloney has picked up where he left off for Wigan and obviously thrives on the confidence Roberto Martinez has in him. Another little guy with a low centre of gravity, quick feet and a keen eye for a nifty pass in and around the area.

6. Gareth McAuley, West Brom – After picking him out as a solid bargain buy last season, the more we see of McAuley, the more we appreciate his consistency. Not flashy by any stretch, the spindly 32-year old Northern Irish defender just gets his afternoon’s work done properly with no flouncy airs and/or graces – clearing his lines and winning the world in the air. Barely ever puts a foot wrong, which is just about all any manager could want from his centre-halves.

7. Eden Hazard, Chelsea – Hands up, we had Hazard pinned to bomb in the Premier League as we foresaw that his penchant for the hammy amateur dramatics would see him ostracised. Not so, and with his swan-diving curtailed, Hazard has been electric for Chelsea – proving a couple of goals, a rich stream of assists and some excitingly penetrative wing play in his first few games. That’s right, ‘penetrative’. Stop smirking.

8. Ali Al-Habsi, Wigan – A fine shot-stopper with the reactions of a paranoid housefly, Al-Habsi is a joy to watch when he hits his stride, single-handedly repelling the big boys after they twinkle their way through the Wigan backline. It’s makes us a little bit uneasy to think about how much we love this man.

9. Marouane Fellaini, Everton – Everton as a collective have been incredibly impressive so far this season, especially considering that they have an infamously natty knack of giving every other side in the league a five-month headstart, but Fellaini has been, quite literally, head and shoulders above the rest. The big Belgian brute’s attributes are obvious to all, and best summed up by attempting to imagine what an absolute nightmare he must be to play against.

10. Steven Fletcher, Sunderland – People balked in unison when Sunderland fluffed £12+ million on Fletcher back in August, with the general consesus appearing to be that he was nothing more than a ‘tap-in merchant’ – which is precisely the point. He’ll never do anything spectacular, but ten tap-ins a season equates to a potential 30 points on the board. Simple as that.

 What do you reckon Pies fans? Who’s buttered your parsnips in the first four?

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  1. Nick B says:

    I had Al-Habsi down as responsible for at least 2 of the United goals at the weekend. He needed to do better on both the Scholes and Buttner goals. It’s been a strange start for Premiership keepers this season, plenty of high profile errors.

  2. Dont care says:


  3. Holland 1945 says:

    Taking his age out of the equation, Sterling was pretty poor in the previous games as, for all his trickery, he had absolutely no end product. But he was very good in the last game and it’s clear that he’s going to be a cracking player.

    As an Evertonian I don’t agree with Fellaini’s inclusion. He was very good against United but as most of us blues know, he isn’t a striker. He is an incredible central midfielder and just does not have the vision or right tools to be a proper forward. Against weaker defences it’s a neat use of his size but most of his damage throughout his career is done at the heart of our team.

    I’d give a shout out to Podolski as well. I think he’s going to be brilliant for Arsenal and in the last few games we’ve started to see glimpses of his quality. Kagawa’s start has been disappointing but I’m also confident he’ll prove to be an incredible asset to the premier league.

  4. anews says:

    Agree with Nick B. Should be replaced with Michu or allen.

  5. Cheshire Prince says:

    Shawcross. Been brilliant for 2 years now but doesn’t grab the attention as muuch as others.

  6. Joe says:

    Michu definitely deserves a shoutout, also Jan Vertonghen, Vito Mannone, Alex Kacaniklic and good old Damian Duff (highest pass completion rate in the league plus 2 good goals already)

  7. joe says:

    I would have added Podolski. He combines well with Cazorla and showed that he can score goals. I didn’t expect him to get off to such a good start after he failed miserably at Bayern Munich.
    But Wenger’s got the special something that makes Podolski perform

  8. Anonymous says:

    I don’t understand how Michu isn’t in this.

  9. Holland 1945 says:


    Joe Allen?

    I hate this obsession with possession over actual offensive threat. What you do with the ball is what counts, and what he does with the ball is pass it sideways five yards. Sure, he never loses it, but he rarely uses it effectively.

    Michu on the other hand is an obvious choice and I’m surprised he’s not made the list! He looks like an inspired signing.

  10. oisin says:

    Michu steerling petric berbatov and duff

  11. Nanny Plum says:

    ‘Prinz’ Podolski, Arsenals Silesian shit kicker – 3 goals in 5 games. Can eat his own weight in sausage if required.

  12. TravisKOP says:

    Sterling has been very attractive in an attacking sense for LFC this season especially since hes 17 and LFc has shit finishers

  13. Chris says:

    Granero was amazing vs Chelsea. Has he been that good the past few matches? Tenacious and imaginative. Bossing it.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Berbatov! man’s got two goals on debut for Fulham. Cannot beat that.

  15. Chris says:

    What about Kacaniklic at Fulham , Quite a few assists already and was a free as part of that hugely successful Konchesky to Liverpool transfer .

  16. Adamsjimbo 3 says:


  17. Souksonne says:

    Claudio Yacob has found his feet immediately.

  18. Marvin says:

    Berbatov may be good for Fulham – certainly debut showed his former form. Michu has had good start and would have been in my fantasy side had Chelski not had two games to start, and Sterling was straight in my fantasy side having seen some of his pre-season (and his bargain basement price). If only someone could get on the end of some of his deliveries his value could rocket. As long as they ship some at the other end of course… wouldn’t want them scouses rising above mid table mediocrity ;-)
    Might have to sell Petric if Berba keeps him out tho.

  19. gg says:

    Podolski and Sterling

  20. more... says:

    She is perfect. Too bad she has no brain.

  21. seb says:

    Hatem Ben Arfa surely?!

  22. Peter says:

    No Mata???

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